What Size ATV Do I Need to Buy? Youth, Teen Adults, Tall & Small

An ATV, or four-wheeler, is a fun way to explore the outdoors. Whether you are out in the fields or the forests, the right All-Terrain Vehicle can help you navigate any terrain. Nonetheless, ATVs are a considerable investment and require proper research before purchase. What size will you need to buy?

The size of ATV you need to buy depends on the type of riding you’re planning on doing, how big you are if you plan on allowing others to ride, and where you plan to ride the ATV. All these factors will determine the size of ATV that will be a good fit. 

Read on to learn more about how the above factors affect the size of ATV you get. We also analyze what to look for when buying an ATV for children, adults, and teenagers. 

What Size ATV Should I Get?

Wondering what size ATV to get? You’ll need to consider a few factors like:

  • The place you’re planning to ride
  • Purpose of your ATV 
  • Your type of riding
  • Who else will ride the ATV
  • Your Size

The Place You are Planning to Ride

The place you’re planning to ride the ATV is a significant factor as it determines the power you need, and thus the size of ATV you should get. Decide if you plan on using the ATV for hunting, farming, trail riding, or Motorcross racing. 

A 550cc or under is the right size if you’re planning on going for comfortable trail rides or general riding around the home. However, if you’re into steep hill climbing, aggressive trail riding, or hauling, you’ll need to get an ATV with a 600-700cc range. 

An ATV with a 700-1000cc range will be ideal for anyone who likes to explore mud pits and dunes. One thing to note is that the larger the CCs, the more robust the engine. Thus, the more your ATV can handle. 

The Purpose of the ATV

Apart from where you plan on riding the ATV, the ATV’s purpose will determine the size of ATV you need to buy. You can use the ATV for:

Motocross Racing

Although off-roading is a unique type of using an ATV, Motocross racing is more involving as it’s based on agility and speed. ATVs meant for Motocross racing are made to handle aggressive riding, and they feature balancers and front grab bars heel guards. These ATVs have a capacity of 680cc and above with advanced suspension and enough torque. 

These quads are designed for performance and are focused on racing on wide-open deserts or motocross tracks. Furthermore, the ATVs have more ground clearance and deliver unmatched performance and stability. 

Trail Riding

ATVs can also be used to cruise through the trails. After gaining experience, a rider can explore rough terrain to test his limits. These ATVs are about 700cc and up as they are meant for extreme riding.

Recreation 

Recreational ATVs provide versatility. You can use them for hunting, mudding, camping, and any type of adventure trail riding. These ATVs can perform small and big jobs. 

Hunting ATVs

There are subcategories within the utility category. These quads are utility ATVs but are now fitted with different features, accessories, and colors to make hunting easier. A few of the hunting accessories include rack extenders and bumpers, gun scabbards, premium camo paint, and hand/thumb warmers.

Youth ATV

These ATVs are designed for young riders looking to get into this sport. These machines are packed with safety features and are meant for riders ten years or older.  

The Type of Riding You’ll Be Doing

How you plan to ride and where you’re going to ride the ATV play a role in the size of ATV you get.

The first group of people is those who do light towing or snow plowing. These people enjoy casual trail rides to check out the scenery. Also, they won’t ride for a long time. You need these ATVs as a beginner as they are simple to handle and come with automatic transmission. In regards to size, the ATVs within this category will be within the 200-450cc range.

Most riders fall under the second category, where long rides are involved. Comfort is essential, and the group can include farmers and ranchers looking to do more than ride the ATV. Machines within this category have a range of 450-750cc. 

The final category is the riders who love aggressive riding and are looking for maximum capability and power. With these machines, you can race up mountainsides and rush through harsh terrain. These ATVs are big and ideal for people who go game hunting. ATVs within this group have a range of 700-1000cc range. 

Another thing to note is that if you plan on pulling a boat, trailer, or anything heavy, you need to check the ATV’s type of hitch and towing rate, apart from the size. Are you also planning to have more than one rider on the ATV? While most ATVs are designed for a single person, a few can accommodate two riders. Nevertheless, these types of ATVs have long wheelbases for extra stability and a second set of footpegs. 

Who Else Will Ride the ATV

Are you planning to have someone else ride your ATV? The other person could be your spouse, friend, or your children. You need to consider the other person’s capability and experience level when choosing an ATV. 

If you have inexperienced riders, you need to go for a small-sized ATV with a 400-550 cc range. Find one with electronic power steering and automatic transmission. That makes riding easier for beginners. Moreover, if older people may use the same ATV, you can opt for an ATV that is 550-700cc. 

Your Size

Although physical size isn’t a critical factor in determining the type of ATV you choose, it’s something worth considering. You can get on various ATVs to decide what size you are comfortable in. Small size may feel too cramped, which is not something you want to be dealing with when out riding.

An adult who is 5’10” will be fine on an ATV that is 400 cc and below. anyone over 5’10” will need a bike over 400cc. Individuals between 6’2-6’3 will need a 500cc and above. Note that there are variations in size within every class. The best way to determine the ATV that fits your size is to get on different ATVs and find a comfortable one. 

What Size ATV Should I Buy for My Child?

Choosing an ATV for your child can be daunting. You want your kid to enjoy riding, but at the same time, be safe while doing it. Most states require that children under the age of 16 don’t operate an ATV over 90cc. 

You don’t want to risk getting a more significant size ATV hoping that your child doesn’t outgrow it, only for it to cause serious injuries. Children under six years of age cannot ride an ATV as they are not within the minimum age requirement. 

Children between 6-11 years need an ATV with an engine size that is under 70cc. That range will help the kid engage in safe riding while offering decent power. Those between 12-15 years need a unit that is between 70-90cc. These engines are suitable for young riders looking for more power and those who have a little experience. Check your little one’s habit of riding the bicycle, as this will tell you about his/her strengths and weaknesses. 

There are three and four-wheeled ATV models. When choosing an ATV for your child, it’s best to go for the four-wheeled model as it provides more stability and balance. Three-wheeled models are not as stable and are outlawed for children in some states. Ensure the ATV is equipped with lights and reflectors. Your child should also use the ATV with the supervision of an adult.

However, note that the above guidelines may differ if your child is small for his/her age. Remember that the rider needs to grab the brake with the hands, touch the gear shift, and reach all controls. Checking all these factors can help you decide on the appropriate ATV size to get. Don’t forget to match the kid with the ATV by confirming a three-inch clearance between the ATV’s seat and the child’s pants when he/she stands. 

Safety Features Fitted on the Quad

The ATV engine is not the only factor to consider when choosing an all-terrain vehicle for your kid. Check to see that the ATV has safety features like a brushless motor, chainless gearbox transmission, hydraulic brake system, wheelie safety bar for balancing, among other factors.

Some models come fitted with the parent-adjustable speed limiting feature. The feature allows you, as a parent, to control the speed of each ATV. What’s more, some models enable you as the parent to set the maximum speed a child can run the vehicle. Also, check to see that the four-wheeler has a seatbelt and a battery cover. 

Types Available

There are plenty of options available, right from sports ATVs to utility ATVs. Maintenance is something you don’t want to forget when shopping for a kid’s ATV. Find a machine that doesn’t have gas/oil, sprockets, or chains. That means you won’t need to invest more time and labor to maintain the all-terrain vehicle. 

One mistake most parents make is to focus on the engine size and ignore the ATC’s overall weight and dimensions. You need to determine if your child can comfortably get on the ATV and control it. The kid needs to be healthy and big enough to reach the control levers while seated and stand on the floorboards. 

Leg Length

Check to see if your child sits on the ATV with feet placed on the pegs; there should be a 45 degree angle when his/her knees bend. The thighs should line up a parallel between the forearm and the upper arm. Your kid also needs to sit upright on the vehicle and place their hands on the handlebars without leaning forward. 

If Your Child Can Maintain the Handlebars’ Grip and Control the Brake and Throttle

As a parent, you need to ensure your child’s seatbelt is locked, check that he/she has protective equipment like a helmet, and have control over the speed your child rides at. Supervising your child and reminding them of the safety precautions makes the ride safe and enjoyable.

When shopping for an ATV for your kid, the rule to remember is that the four-wheeler needs to be at a maximum of three or four times the child’s weight. Your kid should be able to shift their weight from one side to the other and from front to back to keep their balance. You can also go out for an ATV day or test track to compare the different sizes available. 

What Size ATV for Adults?

There’s a no one size fits all when shopping for an adult ATV. A regular ATV for riding around the property or going on trail rides should be 550cc and under. These entry-level ATVs or recreational ATVs are made to be easy to ride with simple handling. You’ll find that some machines have an automatic transmission, while others need shifting without a clutch. 

Another category of utility ATVs designed to haul cargo on the front/rear racks is to push a plow blade or farm implement. These vehicles are popular with campers, hunters, law enforcement officers, and those in service. The reason for their popularity is their power. Modern quads have high ground clearance and fantastic traction. 

Utility ATVs also have other features like independent rear suspension, removable headlights, auxiliary electrical outlets, liquid-cooled engines. The engine size of these quads is in the 450-700cc range. 

Sport ATVs combine the ability of utility ATVs with the sporting capabilities of the racing and performance ATVs. This category is more popular and has a variety to choose from. These quads have excellent handling for trail and tack, overall lightweight, long-travel suspension, and peppy engines. You’ll find these quads in TT and Motocross races. These types of ATV with a range of 500-700cc will be ideal.

Another particular category of ATVs is Two-Up ATVs. Companies like Polaris, Arctic Cat, and Can-Am have started manufacturing these ATVs. What makes them unique is the second set of footpegs/floorboards, long wheelbase for extra stability, and a second raised seat with grab bars for the passengers.  

For you to determine the right size of ATV, you need to get on several models to decide which one feels comfortable to handle. 

What Size ATV for Teenagers?

Buying an ATV for youth helps him/her learn endurance, balancing, and activates cognitive functions, among other benefits. Youngsters 12 years or older need an ATV with an engine capacity of 70-90cc. These sizes of ATVs are more powerful and a bit bigger than the 50 cc ATVs for kids.

This quad size works perfectly for kids who are significant to fit on the 50cc. Sometimes you may have a 16-year-old who’s small for an adult quad, will do nicely on a 70-90cc ATV for teens. According to the ATV Safety Institute, when matching a teen to a four-wheeler, there should be at least three inches of clearance between the child’s pants and the ATV’s seat when standing. 

The teen also needs to grip the handlebars and move them to both sides while still operating the brake lever and throttle with one hand. Failure for the child to reach the handlebars can result in serious injuries. Safety is paramount when running a youth ATV. If you are unsure where to get started, the ATV Safety Institute Readiness Checklist is an excellent place to start. 

When choosing an ATV for your teen, you should also look for adult supervisory controls, drive mechanism, speed, power, suspension systems, and brake/foot controls. 

What Size ATV for Hunting?

While out in the woods, the last thing you are worried about is how fast the ATV is. You need an ATV that performs and one that can camouflage and blend with the surroundings. You should also get an ATV that can do the ground clearance, heavy lifting, hitch, and traction. 

When hunting, you need to do quick cornering, climb through challenging terrain, and sometimes pass through downed trees. The size of ATV you get for hunting will also depend on the type of terrain. 

A 475cc engine going up will be enough for hunting. Don’t forget to check the ATV’s ride quality. You don’t want to spend too much time getting your quad through the woods when you should be enjoying your hunting excursion. Check to see if the ATV has a comfortable saddle, better grip, quality tires, and the handlebar’s positioning and footrests. 

The right ATV for hunting needs to have a sturdy bumper and high wheels to lower the impact of knocking things while in the forest. Also, note that some ATVs are meant for adults, and children can’t use them and vice versa. Get an ATV size that suits your needs. If you plan on getting a machine for your kids, you can get a kid ATV. 

If you are going hunting, you should also opt for an ATV with low noise levels as you don’t want to alert the prey of your presence.

What Size ATV for Farm Use?

ATVs are a beneficial tool that you can use for farming to access areas not accessible by four-wheel drives, pickup trucks, or other motorized cars. You can use an ATV to check and repair irrigation systems, herd livestock, supervise field crews, mow grass, or transport things. 

When looking for an ATV for agricultural use, you need to find one with a reverse gear, an automatic clutch, a coil spring, shock absorber suspension system, shaft drive, and a differential with a locking mechanism. All these components provide versatility for agricultural work. 

Adult ATVs for farming need to have engines ranging from 90-700cc and more. The gear ratios should enable speeds of more than 70mph. Remember that the larger the cc, the more powerful and quicker the ATV will be. However, note that this is dependent on how you plan to use the ATV, as this will determine the gear ratio and size of the engine you get.

ATV transmissions are five-speed complete with low and high range, reverse and park, and neutral features. Four-wheel drive is available as an option, but the two-wheel-drive is standard on most ATVs. 

Also, ensure you get a machine that can tow over 2000 pounds, has a rigid chassis, ample interior storage space, and brakes. A farm ATV needs plenty of carrying capacity, including the rear and front racks. These racks can carry up to 150kgs, with the largest ATV having a towing capacity of 450kgs. 

Rider comfort is essential when using an ATV for farming. If you are planning on using your All-terrain vehicle, you need to find a machine with padded seats. Some units have independent coil suspension to enhance rider comfort. High-end models have power steering that comes in handy when navigating rough and rocky terrain. 

When it comes to size, you want an ATV that can navigate tight corners. Size influences maneuverability. The best size should be 120-inches in width. Ground clearance is another factor you need to consider when evaluating the best ATV size for farm use.

What Other Factors Should You Evaluate?

Below are other things you need to check out when purchasing an ATV:

Transmission

ATVs can either have manual or automatic transmission. Most quads have automatic transmission and come with a belt-drive system and a variable clutch. Nonetheless, you’ll find some models with complex gear-driven systems that are heavy but reliable.

There’s also manual transmission in modern ATVs. These transmissions include the 5-speed or 6-speed with a manual clutch or an automatic clutch system. Most racing ATVs have a manual clutch. That type of clutch allows you to shift with the left foot and left-hand controls to stick to the clutch. That enables you to control traction and engine rpm. 

Note that automatic transmission will add to the cost of an ATV. However, once you mastered operating the manual clutch, you’ll be okay operating an ATV with manual transmission.

Shaft-Drive vs. Chain-Drive Systems

Chain-drives need maintenance as you need to tighten the chain and replace the sprocket regularly. They have decreased ground clearance, which makes them unsuitable in rocky or muddy conditions. However, the chain-drive system is affordable to make and lighter. This drive system allows you to change gear ratios by altering the front/rear sprocket.

On the other hand, shaft-drive systems on the front and rear need little to no maintenance. Modern quads have this drive system. 

Electronic Fuel Injection

An ATV with Electronic Fuel Injection enables the ATV to work correctly despite the elevation you choose to ride. The system also reduces any performance issues you may encounter when riding in places with sea-level changes. With EFI, you can climb the mountain and ride to the beach without changing anything on the ATV. iT 

The EFI also reduces any chances of the engine overheating. Moreover, you won’t have to deal with issues of starting an ATV in cold weather. 

Nevertheless, some ATVs are carbureted and are cheaper compared to those fitted with Electronic Fuel Injection. The problem with this system is that when riding the ATV, you’ll notice a performance difference. 

Power Steering

Power steering is an excellent feature to have on your ATV as it ensures the handlebars won’t be pulled out of your hands when you hit a rock or bump. If you’re looking to add this feature to your ARV, you’ll need to part with $1,000. The best thing is that electronic power steering prevents strain on your shoulders and arms when going for a long day’s ride.

Two-Wheel vs. Four-Wheel Drive

Should you get an ATV that is the 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive? The decision lies in the terrain you plan on riding the quad. A 4-wheel drive works when climbing steep hills, navigating through muddy sections, and crawling on big rocks and logs. ATVs that are four-wheel drive carry more cargo, plow more snow, and pull trailers and other farm implements.

Worth noting is that most four-wheel-drive ATVs have a button that you can use to switch to two-wheel drive. You can opt for a 2-wheel drive if you’re not planning on riding in extreme terrain. 

Drum Brakes vs. Disc Brakes

ATVs with disc brake systems are durable, stop better, and work better in wet and muddy conditions. You won’t have issues with the brakes freezing in the winter. In the older days, most ATVs had disc brakes. The problem with disc brakes is that they get water inside during winter, which can be a significant problem.

Conclusion

There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to ATVs. The size of ATV you choose will depend on its purpose, the terrain you plan on riding the ATV, and if you are comfortable reading the handlebars and other controls when riding. All these factors will determine the right ATV size for you.

Which ATV Should I Buy, Utility or Sport?

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be categorized into two main categories utility and sport. There are many variants of the ATVs. When you decide to purchase one, it is normal to want to weigh your options.

Utility ATVs make for the best purchase due to higher ground clearance, more straightforward operation, softer ride, and utilitarian options, while Sport ATVs are for those who are most passionate about competitive speed and performance.

This article will explore the considerations that an ATV buyer should employ when deciding on what model of ATV to purchase. We will look at the key characteristics of sport and utility ATVs to allow you to become a knowledgeable buyer.

Difference Between Sport ATVs and Utility ATVs

When deciding what ATV to purchase, it is important to start by knowing the main differences between a sport ATV and a utility ATV. These differences come down to design and function.

Purpose of a Utility ATV

ATVs are not all for sport or recreation. ATVs also have a role as practical work vehicles. A utility ATV is designed to meet the range, load, and accessibility requirements of work-specific tasks.

Their form-factor, ability to navigate different terrain, and ease of use, make them effective modes of transport in work-specific environments, such as ranching, and task-specific activities, such as hunting.

Purpose of a Sport ATV

A sport ATV is primarily designed for recreational and sports use. This ATV classification is an umbrella term that encompasses a large number of niche ATVs. There are sport ATVs specifically designed for racing, jumping, stunt riding, etc. and lack the practical aspect found in utility ATVs.

Sport ATV designs tend to incorporate more resistant suspensions and responsive engines than utility ATVs. They are also lighter in weight. This results in an end-product that provides optimized riding performance.

When Is a Utility ATV Right for You?

The answer to when a utility ATV is right for you is simplified if you have no interest in using your ATV for recreational use. Likewise, if you have a specific task in mind that you feel will benefit from the mobility offered by an ATV. These can include:

  • Farm work and ranching. From shepherding livestock to hauling hay, spraying fields, plowing, and carrying equipment to repair fencing, a utility ATV can become a workhorse for farm and ranch-related work.
  • Forestry work. Covering the vast distances involved with forestry work and wildfire prevention work involves navigating difficult and nearly impassable terrain. The nature of the work also calls for being able to carry or haul different payloads. A utility ATV is ideal for this.
  • Security and monitoring work. A utility ATV is an economical alternative for patrolling and monitoring large open areas. They provide speed and agility to security work.
  • Hunting. For reaching hunting areas that are deep in-country or that require traversing inhospitable paths, the utility ATV is well-suited for these tasks. Their payload and hauling capability make them ideal for carrying gear and extracting large game.

Can You Use a Utility ATV for Recreational Purposes?

If you decide on purchasing a utility ATV because your needs matched one of those listed above, that does not mean that you cannot use it for recreational purposes.

Most utility ATVs can be used recreationally. However, it is important to note that they will likely not match sport ATVs in terms of speed or responsiveness. For most casual recreational ATV riders, however, this should not be an issue as they don’t tend to ride their ATVs to performance limits.

An advantage that comes with using a utility ATV recreationally instead of a sport ATV is that it is better suited for off-roading. Utility ATVs tend to have larger ground clearances and softer suspension systems, making riding down rough trails safer and more comfortable.

There is an argument to be made that if your whole purpose for purchasing an ATV revolves around off-roading and rough country trailing, a utility ATV would be your best choice even if you have no work-related application for the ATV.

On the other hand, if your recreational riding is more speed-intensive or competitive, the limitations in the utility ATV’s performance may compromise your enjoyment of the vehicle.

There is also the issue of specialized equipment that might be attached to your utility ATV that would not make it suitable for recreational use. If you intend to purchase an ATV for both utility and recreational use, make sure that specialized accessories are removable.

When Is a Sport ATV Right for You?

If your only intended use for the ATV is for recreational use, a sport ATV might be a good choice for you. However, it is imperative to analyze how you define your recreational use scenario.

Sport ATVs are suited to those who seek speed and responsiveness. Being lightweight compared to a utility ATV, a sport ATV is going to deliver a faster ride even when sporting an engine of the same size or smaller as that used in a utility ATV.

However, as mentioned when discussing utility ATVs, a sport ATV will have lower ground clearance. This means that if you intend on riding it in rough terrain, you may encounter obstructions that a utility ATV would otherwise clear.

A sport ATV will be able to handle rough trails. However, it will not be able to overcome some larger obstacles that may be encountered in deep off-road situations, such as rugged foliage, weather-trounced trails, or the absence of a track altogether.

A good analogy to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to opt for a sport ATV is to view them as ATVs’ sportscars. They are going to outperform utility ATVs on speed and responsiveness but not on the smoothness of the ride nor the handling of rough trails.

What Are Side-by-Side ATVs?

A side-by-side “ATV” is one that is manufactured with two seats lined up side by side in a single row. Models exist that have two or three such rows for even more passengers. The category of ATV is reserved for single rider machines by the American National Standards Institute.

However, since many manufacturers do market these vehicles as ATV variants, it is understandable for some people to include side-by-sides in their purchasing consideration.

A side-by-side shares most of the powertrain characteristics of an ATV. The main difference being in the steering, acceleration, gear shifting, and braking mechanisms. These will resemble those found in cars as opposed to ATVs that use mechanisms resembling those of motorcycles.

In terms of design and function, side-by-sides are found in utility and sport variants. They mirror the applications and limitations of sport and utility ATVs. If you include side-by-sides in your list when deciding on what ATV to buy, you can apply the same analytical criteria that we have presented for ATVs regarding performance.

Where special consideration needs to be added to side-by-sides comes in transportation. While you can transport most sport and utility ATVs in the back of a full-size pickup, side-by-sides are different. Due to their wider and longer form-factor, most will require a trailer to be transported to the locations where they will be used. That is something that you should factor into your consideration.

To learn more about side-by-sides and the UTV category of vehicles, click here.

Types of Transmission

Both sport and utility ATVs are available in manual and automatic transmissions. Due to the performance preferences of the demographics that predominantly opt for sport ATVs over utility ATVs, manual transmissions are the most common transmission for that classification of ATV. Conversely, manual transmissions are more popular with utility ATVs.

What type of transmission you choose should depend on your experience with ATVs, who will be using the vehicle, and its primary use.

Automatic Transmissions on ATVs

An ATV with an automatic transmission will make operating the unit easier. This can be advantageous if you are new to ATVs. Different people with varying degrees of experience will be driving it, or if the vehicle’s use will be for utilitarian purposes requiring the driver to focus on multiple tasks simultaneously. This also holds true if you plan to use the ATV on hills and slopes.

Most ATV automatic transmissions will have a lever to choose between high and low gear. The former setting will provide you more speed while the latter will provide you with stronger torque — ideal when hauling or pulling heavy loads.

In terms of cost, automatic transmissions will add slightly to the cost of the ATV compared to the same unit with a manual transmission. It should be noted, some ATV models, especially in the utility sector, are only available with automatic transmissions.

Manual Transmissions on ATVs

Much as with a motorcycle, the manual transmission on an ATV allows you to have precise control over the engine’s RPMs. This can be very beneficial when you want to apply maximum power under ideal traction conditions and less when you need to compensate for poor traction.

When adding the transmission type to your calculus in determining which ATV to purchase, make sure to factor in the complexity required to operate an ATV manual transmission. The process is very similar to that of a motorcycle. Shifting gears requires you to employ the clutch, gear lever, and throttle at the same time. If you are on a slope or hill, the brake also comes into play.

With practice, the process becomes second nature. However, if you only plan on using the ATV occasionally or plan on allowing other less experienced riders to take the controls, having a manual transmission can be a net negative compared to the added performance that it provides to an experienced rider.

Manual transmissions can be very beneficial when taking turns, especially at a higher speed. By controlling when a gear shift occurs, you avoid the potential of an automatic transmission shifting gears in the middle of a tight and fast turn. The result of that can be a momentary loss of control or balance.

That level of added control is why manual transmissions are more common in sport ATVs. With greater speed comes a greater need for responsiveness. Manual transmissions contribute to that. When performing repetitive tasks, especially at slower speeds or requiring stronger torque, manually shifting gears can become tedious and tiring.

Should You Buy a New or Used ATV?

After you have decided whether a sport or utility ATV is best for you and you have taken into consideration the collateral details — such as type of transmission, size, color, etc. — you need to consider whether you want to purchase a new or used ATV.

Much as with a car, the advantages of opting to purchase a new ATV include:

  • The ATV would have an active manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Mechanical failures would be less frequent.
  • Spare parts would be more readily available compared to older models.

The disadvantages of choosing a new ATV are basically related to cost. A used version of a similar model of ATV will be considerably less expensive in the used ATV market.

If you plan on making full use of the ATV on a regular basis, the advantages of opting for a new unit makes practical and economic sense. However, if you want to purchase an ATV solely for recreational use a handful of times during the year — or if you merely want to see if ATV riding is something you and your family will enjoy — a used model would be best.

Account for the ATV “Learning Curve”

Excluding purchases for a specific and proven utilitarian purpose, a first-time ATV purchase will usually be accompanied by a learning curve and a period of acclimation to the machine and ATV riding in general.

New buyers often fail to take this into account. Instead, they opt for what they believe to be their “ideal” machine. This is more often than not based on their aspirations for the “ATV lifestyle.”

It is not unusual for a first-time ATV buyer to purchase a unit that is not the best for them as operators or fulfill the purpose they wanted. This is why buying the most expensive ATV that you can afford, the newest, or the most powerful, is not always a good idea.

Keeping your options open should be the rule of thumb for a first-time ATV purchase. Avoid locking yourself down in terms of functionality. Choose a category of ATV at a price range that will allow you to become familiar with ATV-ing and safe ATV operation comfortably.

It is for this reason that a first-time ATV buyer might want to consider a utility ATV with an automatic transmission over a sports model with a manual transmission, for instance.

As you become more experienced with riding ATVs, as you develop practical experience riding and maintaining them, you may discover that your original intention to own and operate one has changed.

By that time, you will be more knowledgeable about what type and model of ATV you need. This will put you in a better position to make an informed purchase and make selecting a higher-priced or particular ATV model a wiser choice.

Pros and Cons of Sport ATVs

Pros of Sport ATVs

  • Lighter in weight compared to utility ATVs.
  • Faster and more responsive.
  • Easier to transport to riding locations.
  • Ideal for racing and other competitive events.
  • Design and aesthetics add a “cool factor.”
  • Enhanced suspensions for safe high-speed turns, bumps, and jumping.
  • Generally less expensive than utility ATVs.

Cons of Sport ATVs

  • Lack of storage and payload space.
  • Lower ground clearance compared to utility ATVs.
  • Lower torque makes them inadequate for towing.
  • The same enhanced suspension that offers excellent handling can make for an uncomfortable bumpy ride.
  • In most cases, it requires a manual transmission to get the most out of the vehicle.

Pros and Cons of Utility ATVs

Pros of Utility ATVs

  • Most can be used for practical as well as recreational purposes.
  • Higher ground clearance makes them a better option for true off-roading.
  • Allow you to carry gear and other payloads.
  • Suspension allows for a more comfortable ride.
  • Strong torque makes them well-suited for hauling and towing.
  • It can be used in a wide variety of work-specific tasks.

Cons of Utility ATVs

  • Not as fast as sport ATVs.
  • The added weight makes them more of a challenge to transport to riding locations.
  • Their suspension is not optimal for high-speed turning or jumping.
  • Designs lack the “flash” of sport ATVs.
  • Generally more expensive than sport ATVs.

The Final Rundown

The decision to purchase an ATV is discretionary when for recreational purposes. When for business and operational applications, it can be seen as a capital investment for your business.

In either case, the determining factor for choosing one will be how you intend to use the ATV.

If payload, torque, ground clearance, and off-road capabilities are essential, the utility ATV is the best bet. If speed and responsiveness are what you seek and you have no intention of using your ATV for any utilitarian purpose or subject it to intensely rough terrain, the sport ATV makes a sound choice.

Are Dirt Bikes Faster Than Quads?

The debate around quads vs. dirt bikes is an age-old one. People usually side with one or the other because a lot of things are subjective when it comes to these two offroad rides. However, there’s a clear answer if we wish to compare their speed.

Dirt bikes are faster than quads because they are lighter and can take sharp turns more quickly. Even if a dirt bike and a quad have the same engine, the bike has a better power to weight ratio, which makes it accelerate much faster than an ATV with the same motor.

ATVs don’t always perform slower than dirt bikes, though. Read on to learn more about their speed, whether faster speed means less safety with dirt bikes, and how you can choose which one is best for you.

Why Are Dirt Bikes Faster Than ATVs?

The most significant factor that makes dirt bikes go faster than quads is weight. A sport ATV can weigh twice as much as a dirt bike. An average dirt bike weighs around 215 lbs (98 kg), while you can expect an average ATV to weigh 590 lbs (268 kg). That’s only an estimated average; the actual weight will depend on the size of your engine (cc). But overall, two-wheelers are much lighter than four-wheelers.

This lighter weight allows dirt bikes to move more quickly and effectively in narrower spaces than quads. Also, you’ll be able to climb hills faster on dirt bikes.

As we’ve discussed, ATVs and dirt bikes have the same engine—weight is what makes all the difference. Imagine two vehicles: a quad weighing 400 lbs (181 kg) and a dirt bike weighing 230 lbs (104 kg). If they have the same engine, which one will go faster? Of course, the dirt bike as it can accelerate more quickly than four-wheelers, thanks to its greater power to weight ratio.

With that said, ATVs don’t lose all the time when it comes to speed. Dirt bikes have two wheels, and quads have four, which means they have more traction. Because of this, they can perform better on muddy, slick tracks and flat tracks.

Theoretically, quads would have more acceleration than a dirt bike if the power to weight ratios were equal. I’m saying this because they have more contact patch (the amount of tire touching the ground). Their extra weight also helps traction to some extent.

However, in real life, they have (compared to their heaviness) less power and more weight. So a dirt bike is faster, more maneuverable, and accelerates quicker than a four-wheeler. Of course, a lot of it also depends on the rider.

Advantages of Higher Speed

Since dirt bikes are so fast and convenient, they’re often used in racing and sport. On the other hand, ATVs are heavier and not suitable for high-speed racing. Riders can also perform more stunts and tricks on dirt bikes. In contrast, it can be dangerous to do the same on ATVs, especially for inexpert drivers.

This brings me to another point: dirt bikes give you more adrenaline rush than ATVs. Their higher speed and better flexibility offer a more thrilling adventure. I’m not saying ATVs aren’t fun, they are, but you would have to be an excellent rider to drive them at high speeds. Whereas dirt bikes naturally offer the thrill of jumping off hills and going super-fast.

Does This Mean Dirt Bikes Are Less Safe?

We’ve talked about high speeds, stunts, and hill-climbing. While that’s cool and all, there’s another critical matter to discuss: the level of safety.

This may seem obvious at first. Dirt bikes go faster, and people perform more stunts on them, so they’re more prone to accidents, right?

Well, yeah, quads are involved in fewer accidents, but there’s more to it. And if you believe ATVs are safer than dirt bikes, you’re in for a surprise.

A John Hopkins study shows that dirt bikes are safer than ATVs. Riding ATVs causes a lot more deaths than riding two-wheelers. To give you the stats, quad-crash victims are 50% more likely to die. They’re also 55% more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and 42% more likely to be placed on a ventilator.

But ATVs are more stable and comfortable to ride for beginners. Why these surprising results? Quads are undoubtedly steadier than dirt bikes. The stability of ATV gives people a false sense of security. As a result, they try to corner too fast or ride on uneven tracks.

However, the center of gravity of ATVs is too high, so they’re likely to flip over. Remember that there’s no crash protection for the rider, so an ATV rolling over you can be extremely dangerous.

If you were in a bike accident, you could get away with strains and sprains, and you’ll probably be thrown off the bike. You may still break a bone, but it’s nothing compared to an ATV accident.

If you were riding a quad and got into an accident, its massive weight could break your neck or back, resulting in death. Even if you’re lucky, the chances of you getting injured severely are very high.

The bottom line? Dirt bike accidents happen more often than ATV accidents. Still, the latter can be much more fatal, which means dirt bikes are overall safer.

Choosing Between ATVs and Dirt Bikes

If you’re looking to get a new off-road companion for yourself, speed and safety aren’t the only factors to consider. There are many things you need to look for when comparing a dirt bike with an ATV. Here are some important ones:

  • Learning: If you’re a beginner, a dirt bike can seem more intimidating, and there’s also a learning curve involved. ATVs are more beginner-friendly and are forgiving for kids.
  • Comfort: Quads have a larger seat than dirt bikes. Sitting down on a quad is more comfortable than sitting on a dirt bike, which is designed for you to stand up more than sit down. Overall, the ATVs are more comfortable.
  • Utility: With ATVs, you can pull and drag heavy machines or a utility trailer. They can also carry passengers, so they’re more functional. Dirt bikes, on the other hand, are usually not used for work.
  • Maintenance: An ATV, of the same rider class as a dirt bike, is more expensive. Not only that, but the maintenance costs of ATVs are also higher. So if the price is a concern, a dirt bike is the way to go.
  • Convenience: ATVs are restricted to two-track trails only, while you can ride a dirt bike on many tracks. Dirt bikes take up less space, and you can even carry them by yourself if you ever encounter a malfunction. The same cannot be said for ATVs.

To summarize, if you want more out of your vehicle than just thrilling rides, go for an ATV. It can be useful in handling heavy machines and other stuff. But if you’re only looking for breath-taking adventures and unforgettable memories, a dirt bike should be your pick.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to speed, dirt bikes are faster because they weigh less but have the same power as ATVs. The only exception would be a flat or a muddy track where ATVs could have an advantage because of their increased traction.

Surprisingly, even with higher speeds, dirt bikes have been reported to be safer than ATVs. However, both these vehicles are fun to ride, and you’ll need to choose based on what you want from your ride.

Can You Use Car Oil in a Four-Wheeler?

If you have a car and a four-wheeler, you may be tempted to stick with the same oil for both of them. It’s convenient, but you’re also probably thinking that since the oil can work for a car engine, it should work with a four-wheeler. Is this a good idea, though?

You can use car oil for a four-wheeler, but it is not the right decision in many cases. This is because the oil formulation will affect different engines in different ways. The perfect car oil may not have the right formulation required to keep a four-wheeler running optimally.  

The rest of the article will take a closer look at the case against pouring car oil into a four-wheeler engine. There’s also a section on the best oils to use instead.

Why Regular Car Oil Won’t Work in four-wheelers

The main reasons we add oil to engines are to protect against wear and tear and protect against the damage caused by extreme heat while the engine is running. Under extreme heat, deposits will form in the engine, making it less powerful and reducing its overall efficiency. The heat can also lead to faster oxidation of the oil, which will make it unable to protect the engine as it should.

So, while it may seem like a good idea to use the same motor oil you already have or to buy a cheap one at the store, you should reconsider the decision if you don’t want to damage your engine. Or waste too much time, energy, and money on trying to prevent oxidation via regular oil changes.

How Car Oil Interacts With a four-wheeler Engine

A four-wheeler won’t see a lot of miles when compared to your regular car, but the engine in it revs very high and runs super hard when in use. The engine is designed to work heavily, but at slower speeds than a car. This engine configuration means that conventional car oil will, in most cases, not have enough oil film strength for the engine.

The slow, but power-sapping operations of a four-wheeler increases stress on engine bearings. If the oil film strength is inadequate (as is the case with car oils in such an engine), the pressure from running the engine will rupture the oil film, leading to worn out bearings.

Oils designed for four-wheelers ensure that durable protective film remains in the engine regardless of the condition. By getting these instead of using regular car oil, your machine’s engine will function more optimally.  

Another important point you should keep in mind here is that oil made for four-wheelers also have to lubricate the transmission. Car oils don’t have this composition as the transmission in conventional vehicles typically has a designated lubricant. 

four-wheeler oils don’t come with the same type of friction modification seen in car oils, so they do a better job when it comes to protecting your transmission and ensuring excellent transmission performance.

How Often Should You Change Your four-wheeler Oil?

You should change the oil in a four-wheeler more frequently compared to your car, in terms of total miles traveled. The exact frequency will vary depending on usage, but you should aim to change the oil in the vehicle every 100 hours or 1000 miles on average. However, you don’t have to wait until you hit those numbers. The oil in the engine will lose its efficacy after around six months due to oxidation.

If you use your four-wheeler for sport, you should change the oil every 25 to 30 hours. If you take part in races regularly, you should change the oil after every race. For racing, protecting the engine is more important than anything else. 

You need to ensure your engine can handle the stress and heat from racing, and the best way to do this is to ensure there’s fresh oil providing high film strength and resistance to thermal breakdown at all times.

Are There Signs to Look Out for Before Changing Your four-wheeler Oil?

Unfortunately, you can’t use an eye-test to know when to change the engine oil in a four-wheeler. The only way to do this is to take some of the oil to the lab for some checks. Apart from the fact that you have to know what to check for first and foremost, this is obviously impractical for a lot of people. Therefore, the best bet is to stick to the recommended oil change intervals above as closely as possible.

Best Oils to Use for a four-wheeler Vehicle

If you’re looking for the best oils to use for your four-wheeler, the first thing you should do is check your user manual to see the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Most manufacturers of four-wheeler vehicles also have in-house oil, which they recommend for use on their four-wheelers. Yamaha and Cam-Am are popular examples, with their YamaLube All-Purpose and Can-Am XPS 4-Stroke, respectively. Other oils may have extra advantages, but using the oil designed to work for the engine by the vehicle manufacturer covers all the basics at the very least.

If your manufacturer doesn’t have a product you can buy, they will provide specific recommendations on the type of oil you should use. Pay attention to the type of oil recommended, and most importantly, the viscosity. Armed with this information, you can head to the shop. 

Here are some of the best ATV Oil options in the market today:

Maxima ATV Premium Engine Oil

Since 1979, Maxima has been producing high-quality lubricants for all kinds of engines. Their racing history also means you can count on them to produce the right lubricant needed for high rev engines such as four-wheelers. The oil’s tolerance for heat and fluidity is without doubts some of the best you’ll find.

Amsoil 5W-50

The AMSOIL brand has become synonymous with synthetic oils. They’ve been producing lubricants for more than 40 years, focusing on providing a range of products suited for four-wheelers. Their 5W-50 is a popular option, but you can look through their range of products for other options.

Polaris PS-4 

Polaris is another popular brand in the oil niche. Their PS-4 has the right chemical composition to keep your four-wheelers running optimally. It also comes with an oil change kit, including an oil filter. So, going with this option can save you some money on useful accessories.

Honda 08C35-A141L01

This model from Honda comes with a viscosity grade of 10W-40, which means it will work well across a wide temperature spectrum. This oil is popular with motorbike owners, but it has also been proven to work well with four-wheelers.

Valvoline 4-Stroke

The Valvoline 4-stroke is one of the engine oils designed with four-wheelers in mind. Its chemical composition means it is non-detergent oil. This allows it to work perfectly without an oil filter. It’s also another product you can trust to work in all kinds of weather.

Conclusion

Your car oil can work with your four-wheeler. However, over an extended period, this approach will reduce the engine’s efficiency and ultimately shorten its lifespan. To keep the engine in your vehicle functioning optimally, you should only use either manufacturer-recommended oils or other options that have been proven to work for vehicles like your brand.

When you find the right oil, you should be sure to change the oil regularly—in line with your typical usage. The best four-wheeler oils will still fail if you don’t change when it’s due.

ATV or Dirt Bike for Kids?

Maybe you grew up riding both ATVs and dirt bikes and are torn because you love both or you might be completely new to the sport and might not have a clue where to start and that’s ok. When it comes to your child, understandably, you would want to do a thorough analysis of each of these off-road rides before deciding which one is best suited for your kid and we are here to guide you.  

Deciding on a ATV or a dirt bike depends on factors like age, previous experience, and how the kid intends to use it. ATVs are great for someone who is a beginner and offers greater comfort in riding, while dirt bikes offer more suspension travel, can have greater speed, and quicker acceleration.

This article discusses in detail the various factors affecting the safety, ease, and durability of these two machines. It will help you understand the benefits that each of the bikes offers as well as inform you of the things you need to be aware of so that you can make an informed decision. Keep on reading to find out more about some of these major differences that set the two rides apart.

It Is Easier to Learn ATV

It has been seen that ATVs are much easier to learn compared to dirt bikes. All your kids will need is a basic set of instructions, and they will be all set to go for a ride. A dirt bike, on the other hand, will require your kids to invest more time in understanding the instructions, and it may take up to a few days before they can actually ride the bike.

Additionally, there is a much lower chance of crashing on an ATV, whereas with a dirt bike, you should just plan on knowinging they are going to crash. Knowing this means you could take more preventive measures by buying more safety gear. In this video, you can see the set of instructions that your kid can follow to learn how to ride an ATV:

ATVs Are an All-Terrain Vehicle

ATVs can be used for longer periods of the year compared to dirt bikes. For instance, ATVs can do quite alright on light snow while dirt bikes can’t handle snow and ice the same.

So, if you live in a cold climate that sees snowfall during the winter, then opting for an ATV will be wiser. ATVs will be able to get far more traction on the ground than a dirt bike, and so it will be more stable than a dirt bike.

ATVs Are Less Prone to Crashing Compared to Dirt Bikes

The likelihood of crashes happening with ATVs is far lesser compared to dirt bikes. ATVs are encouraged for leisurely outings on trails and farmlands where the possibilities of a crash are less likely. To ensure safety, kids should not be encouraged to go too fast too soon and push the limits of the vehicle. For this purpose, ATV bikes make more sense than dirt bikes.

ATV or Dirt Bike: Which Is Safer?

ATVs usually feel safer as they are steadier when riding compared to dirt bikes. They are relatively easier to learn as well and are often recommended for beginners. Due to these reasons, it makes the rider feel more secure.

On dirt bikes, riders often tend to be seriously injured with broken bones and sustaining injuries that are more than just a scratch. Sometimes, during a crash, the rider is flung off, resulting in further grievous injuries.

As an added safety measure, you can use the right gear when you are on your ATV or dirt bike. Investing in GV Driving Mirror Glasses is a good option.

Helmets are another important piece of gear that you need to invest in in order to ensure the safety of your kid. The ILM Youth Kids Helmet is lightweight and incredibly durable, making it a great investment for your kid’s ATV adventures.

ATVs Have More Functional Value Than Dirt Bikes

Dirt bikes do not allow for carrying any equipment or provide any sort of storage solution. ATVs are a better choice in this regard and is being used often when going out for camping trips. Carrying things at the back of a dirt bike seems quite impossible, but with ATVs, you could easily carry a small tent. Due to these reasons, the functional value of ATV rates is higher than a dirt bike.

It Is Easier to Carry Dirt Bikes

If you are planning a weekend trip where you plan on going quad biking, dirt bikes are easier to haul because of their lightweight. ATVs, on the other hand, are far more heavyweight and will not be easy to carry at the back of a truck or van if you are going away for the weekend.

A dirt bike weighs 200 lbs while an ATV weighs close to three times that. This makes it easier to move and load a dirt bike around compared to an ATV.

Dirt Bikes Are Suitable for Those Seeking Adrenaline Rush

Dirt bikes are made for adrenaline junkies. It gives a rush to the rider, and they are constantly at the edge of their seat when driving a dirt bike. ATVs do not cater to this kind of adrenaline-seeking crowd. It is meant for comparatively slow-paced biking.

ATVs Can Carry Passengers

ATVs can accommodate passengers on it in addition to the rider. Though there are many ATVs out there that do not have a passenger seat, many choose to take a passenger along anyway as the ATVs have proven that it is possible to carry passengers even on a single-rider machine. This, however, is not recommended.

Dirt bikes have provision for a single-rider only. If you are planning to take your young one on a bike ride, then using an ATV over a dirt bike is recommended. Opt for ATVs that have provision for carrying passengers when you are taking your kid along.

ATVs Cost More Than Dirt Bikes

If one were to avert one’s eyes from the safety perspective for a moment and only consider the cost of the vehicle, then perhaps the dirt bike will come across as the winner. For the sake of comparison, you can look at the chart below:

MakeATV CostDirt Bike Cost
Mid-Grade Honda$7,300$4,500
Mid-Grade Suzuki$8,500$7,700
Old Mid-Grade Honda$4,700$3,000

However, it is important to note that the severity of the injury, should any occur, is likely to be far more for a dirt bike than for an ATV. So, pinching pennies when purchasing a bike may not always translate to savings in the longer run.

Conclusion

If your kid is just beginning to learn quad biking and intends to go out on leisurely rides or use it more as a functional machine, then opting for an ATV makes more sense. On the other hand, if you are looking for something that is easier to haul and ride and relatively more lightweight, then the dirt bike is a better option for your kid.

It is important to remember that no matter what you choose for your kid, you will have to ensure that all proper safety measures are taken at all times in order to avoid any mishap and make the experience more enjoyable. 

How Many Miles Can a 4-Wheeler Go on a Tank of Gas?

If you’ve owned your quad for more than one season then you’ve probably already had the experience of walking the 4-wheeler back somewhere or bringing fuel back to your ATV. If you are trying to avoid that scenario then I’m sure you are wondering how far you actually can ride on a take of gas.

A 5.4 Gallon ATV tank can ride 108 miles averaging 20MPG. Factors that affect gas mileage: type and age of ATV, tank size, weight, throttle, terrain, tires, engine size, carburetor, and maintenance upkeep. To ensure you won’t run out of gas test your 4-wheeler before your trip and bring extra gas. 

  • Find your ATV’s fuel capacity in gallons, then multiply it by x 20 MPG this will give you an estimate on how far your ATV will travel. If you ride hard, multiply your gallons by a lower MPG like 16-18 MPG.

There are plenty of resources where you can easily find a car or truck’s mileage, but there is hardly any info out there for 4-wheelers which can be very agitating. We can give you a fairly close estimate, things that affect gas mileage, and a few other tips. That way, you won’t have to hike back to civilization, empty gas can in hand.

How Many Miles Can Your 4-Wheeler Go?

If it seems to you that there isn’t a lot of information about gas mileage and 4-wheelers, you are right. Trying to locate gas mileage information from dealers is just about impossible.   

For example, one website mentions that the fuel economy from all UTVs/ATVs in 2011 averages 39.47 miles per gallon. However, the same website also lists the date it was written as January 1, 1970. You decide how much you trust those numbers but it’s outdated. 

So then you can look up the specs on a specific 4-wheeler.  For example, here are just some of the specs on a 2021 Can-Am Outlander:

  • Two engine types—650 and 850, V-twin, liquid-cooled, with electronic fuel injection
  • The wheelbase is 51 inches (130 cm), and ground clearance is 11 inches (28 cm)
  • Seat height is 34.5 inches (88 cm)
  • Lighting is 230 W total, with twin 60-W projectors and 55-W reflectors
  • Fuel capacity is 5.4 gallons

Why Don’t Manufacturers Provide Miles per Gallon Information?

Manufacturers of ATVs and 4-wheelers don’t give out the same kind of information regarding gas mileage for several reasons. These are the two key ones:

  • Mileage varies too much. Although not everyone drives the same way and on the same kind of roads in cars, the differences are much smaller than with 4-wheelers. If ATV manufacturers started listing mpg, it wouldn’t be too long before customers began complaining that they weren’t getting anywhere the listed mileage.
  • They are not required to. Mileage requirements by the EPA are for on-road vehicles. Off-road recreational vehicles are not held to the same standards as automobile manufacturers. This gives ATV manufacturers the freedom to design engines for specific purposes and not worry about things like miles per gallon.

There really is only a small amount of info available—and nothing covers fuel mileage. If manufacturers don’t tell you, then the next source to turn to is people who actually own them.

What Other Users Say

To check out what 4-wheeler and ATV users reported, check out Fuelly, a site where vehicle owners report the mileage they have gotten.  

The number of people who report mileage for ATVs and 4-wheelers on Fuelly is much smaller than for cars. For example, over 1,000 people reported mpg’s on their 2012 Toyota Prius. The range there was equally broad, with a couple of cars in the 30s and a few over 60.

Users of ATV and 4-wheeler forums also report similar ranges. So if your buddies are giving you different numbers, saying it depends, or just “I don’t know,” it’s because the answer is dependent on many variables. And this is precisely why it’s hard to find an exact number because everyone drives ATV’s differently. A Utility ATV is going to be hauling more loads at slower speeds versus a Sport ATV might be ridden extremely fast and hard in racing conditions.

Factors That Affect Fuel Mileage 

Weight

It would be great if there were a formula that you could plug in and determine how much a specific weight will impact your gas mileage. The EPA estimates that for every hundred pounds of weight removed, gas mileage increases by 1 to 2 percent.  

A different study found that a 1% reduction in total weight increased fuel economy by 0.33%. Although this study was based on a vehicle weight of 3,200 pounds, it’s probably as close as you will get to a formula.

That estimate is for cars, not 4-wheelers, however. Also, the 100 pounds from a car is a larger percentage of its total weight than 100 pounds of an ATV. Still, the additional weight on your 4-wheeler is going to make its engine work harder, thus reducing fuel mileage.

When you bring back that buck you scored, your mileage coming back will be much lower, so make sure you plan accordingly.

Speed

It goes without saying that the faster you drive, the lower your fuel mileage. Again, there is no neat formula for speed versus mileage for off-road vehicles. The US Department of Energy has an excellent web page for ways to increase gas mileage—but the specifics are all about cars.  

If you want to know how much your 2012 Dodge Ram when you drive 75 miles instead of 60, check out the site. But your Polaris, Kawasaki, or Can-Am won’t be listed.  

Terrain

Terrain also dramatically impacts your gas mileage. Mileage is worse through woods and uneven terrain especially muddy trails that slow you down and in result you revving up your engine more. Same goes for climbing up a tall sand dune over and over, it’s just going to eat through the gas. 

Tires

Two factors related to tires impact your 4-wheelers mileage—tire pressure and tire size. Tires without proper air pressure force the engine to work harder, and when that happens, then mileage drops. Increased Tire size can also have a negative effect due to the added weight.                                                                                                                                                                           Colder temperatures cause tires to deflate so depending on what time of year you might add this into consideration, bring a tire gauge and a way to air those suckers up. Every little bit can help.

Other Factors

A few additional factors that affect ATV’s MPG’s include:

  • Make and age of 4-wheeler
  • Size of engine
  • Fuel-injection or carburetor
  • Regular Maintenance and upkeep

Carry Extra Fuel With You

If you haven’t bought an extra fuel container for your 4-wheeler, now is the time. These are a couple we recommend:

Here is the best ATV fuel Container:

  • EZ5 and EZ3 Utility Jugs – Three different ways to pour making it easy to adapt to your angle. You can see the liquid level at night time,  
  • The EZ Jug Floor Mount – Compatible with either the 3 or 5 Gallon EZ Utility Jugs. It’s easy to use, and allows you transport   
  • The Hose Bender – Finally a hose hooks up to the Utility jugs that locks into a bending position freeing up your hands to maneuver the jug to pour without spilling all over the place. Truly a one of a kind innovative product. US designed and made by MX enthustats! 

Other Recommendations:

  • FuelPaX by RotoPax 2.5 Gallon Fuel Container – These made-in-America fuel containers come in a variety of sizes, from 1.5 to 4.5. Containers are durable and leak-proof.
  • RotopaX Pack Mount – Another type of mount
  • GoPlus 5 Gallon Jerry Fuel Can – The metal is green and has a safety lock to prevent the can from opening accidentally and a built-in air breather for quick emptying. The 3-handle design allows two people to lift the tank, and other features include an anti-rust coating on the inside and outside.
  • The Smittybilt Jerry Gas Can Holder – This is an excellent holder for cans that do not have the RotopaX center hole mount. Designed for 5-gallon Jerry cans, the steel construction and locking strap will protect your can and secure your can. 

If You Are Still Not Sure About the Mileage

Maybe it’s time for a science experiment. Fill up your 4-wheeler and a gas can. Then run it until the tank is nearly empty and see how far you got. Make sure you know how accurate your fuel gauge is so that you do not run out completely.

Use Google Maps or another navigation system to double-check the mileage—the indicator on your vehicle might not be accurate. Then fill ‘er up again and head back. Anybody asks—tell them you were doing science.

Bottom Line

There are just too many factors at play to give an exact answer to the question of how far a 4-wheeler can go on a tank of gas. Use the 20 miles per gallon as a baseline, multiply that by the size of your tank, and carry some extra fuel with you as insurance.  

ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles) Beginners Guide

As I try my best to fill this website with as much useful information as possible about every form of offroading I can, I look for ways to teach people about these motorsports. This article will hopefully help you get a better idea about ATVs and give you a better picture of what they are and what they are not so you can talk about them with confidence.

What Does ATV stand for?

ATV is short for All-Terrain Vehicle.

What are ATVs? What is a Quad?

ATV’s (also commonly referred to as 4-Wheelers or Quads) are defined as a motorized off-highway vehicle designed to travel on four low-pressure or non-pneumatic tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.

ATVs or quads are small personal off-road vehicles that can have 3, 4, or 6 wheels and most commonly are powered by gasoline engines. The engines vary in size from as little as 50CCs to as much as 1000CCs!

Most four-wheelers have a combination of hand levers and foot controls for things like giving it gas, hitting the brakes, and clutching and shifting.

What is a Class 1 ATV? & What is a Class 2 ATV?

ATVs are divided into two classes by the manufacturers, Class 1 and Class 2, and it basically represents how many riders the ATV is designed to carry. Class 1 is designed for just one rider (the driver) and Class 2 is designed for two riders (the driver and a passenger).

What is an ATV Bike?

While this isn’t my favorite name variation for it, this is still referring to the same thing as a quad / 4-wheeler. I don’t personally think of a bike when I see a machine with more than two wheels, but quads definitely take all of their design elements from bikes. You straddle it, you have hand/foot controls… I guess it’s basically the same thing but with less emphasis on balance.

Is a Dirt Bike Considered an All-Terrain Vehicle?

No, because it only has two low-pressure tires where ATVs have three to six tires but some people do lump dirt bikes into the ATV category because they are designed to be used in an off-road scenario in which it can handle just about any terrain you want to ride in. But, for the majority of people using the acronym ATV, they are referring to a four-wheeler. ‘Dirt bike’ or ‘motorcycleare much more commonly used terms and avoid any confusion.

What is ATV Riding? or ATV Driving?

ATV riding or driving is operating a four-wheeler in many different types of terrain including sand, dirt, rock, trails and more. If someone is asking you if you want to go (ATV) riding, your question would be to ask where they are going off-roading. Their answer will give you an idea of the type of terrain they like to ride in and whether or not that is something you want to do and/or if you have an ATV that can handle it. PS, nobody says they’re going ‘ATV driving’. People just say they’re going riding but apparently people search for ATV driving so I thought I would clear that up in this beginner article.

What is a Utility ATV?

A Utility ATV is a four-wheeler that is designed more for a specific task or purpose than just for leisure and recreation. They generally will have less aggressive suspension in terms of overall travel and be more stiff to be able to handle larger loads of material.

Utility ATVs generally all have some form of a rack system and can have them in a horseshoe shape wrapping the back of the rider. Some also include a rack in front for even more storage.

These ATVs can be very appealing to hunters as they are not tuned for extreme performance and the extreme noise that usually comes with it. There are also many aftermarket accessories for utility ATVs and some of them are ways to mount your hunting rifle and other hunting specific add-ons.

They can also feature a receiver hitch so that you can pull small trailers for even more tasks specific capabilities.

ATV Manufacturers, Models, & Price List

(Current Offerings)

Make & Model [# of models] (MSRP) Sport/Utility
Honda TRX250X [1]($4,949)Sport
Honda Fourtrax (utility) [5]($5,499 – $9,399)Utility
Yamaha Raptor 700 [3]($8,099 – $9,299)Sport
Yamaha YFZ450R [2]($9,099 – $9,499)Sport
Polaris Scrambler 850 & XP1000S [2]($10,299 – $14,999)Sport
Polaris Sportsman XP1000S [1]($14,999)Sport
Polaris Sportsman High Lifter Ed. [2]($10,199 – $14,199)Sport (Mud)
Polaris Sportsman series [10]($6,249 – $14,999)Utility
Can-am Outlander [26]($6,199 – $16,349)Utility
Can-am Renegade [4]($8,349 – $15,149)Sport
Kawasaki Brute Force [4]($4,299 – $10,599)Utility
Suzuki Kingquad [18]($6,549 – $10,949)Utility

Youth ATV Models List

(Current Offerings)

Make & Model [# of models] (MSRP) Sport/Utility
Honda TRX90X [1]($3,099)Sport (Youth)
Yamaha YFZ50 [1]($2,199)Sport (Youth)
Yamaha Raptor 90 [1]($2,999)Sport (Youth)
Polaris Outlaw 50 & 110 [2]($2,199 – $3,399)Sport (Youth)
Polaris Phoenix 200 [1]($4,199)Sport (Youth)
Polaris Sportsman 110EFI [1]($3,399)Utility (Youth)
Can-am DS 70,90,90x,250 [4]($2,349 – $4,199)Sport (Youth)
Kawasaki KFX 50 & 90 [2]($1,999 – $2,599)Sport (Youth)
Suzuki Quadsport Z50 & Z90 [2]($2099 – $2999)Sport (Youth)

ATV Cost

Looking at the above data tables it looks like the prince range for a new ATV is between $4k to $16k and a Youth UTV is the $2k – $4k range.

If you like shopping used then you could pick up an old Banshee (Sport ATV) for around $2,500. For those of you that would rather have a utility ATV, you could pick up an older Polaris Sportsman for around $4000.

What Brand of ATV is the Best?

The debate over what is the best ATV brand is one of those age-old questions that involve two big players in an industry fighting to stay on top with a few stragglers always trying to play catch up.

For instance, in the US automobile industry, you’ve always had a Ford versus Chevy battle with a smaller percentage of Mopar enthusiasts. In the computer industry, it’s PC versus Mac and then a smaller percentage in that niche going to Unix / Linux.

The ATV market is the same way. For the sport models, you’ve got Yamaha and Honda duking it out for first with stragglers like Suzuki and Kawasaki. In the Utility ATV department, you’ve got Polaris versus Yamaha and Can-Am.

Just like the above non-off-road examples, it all comes down to what you’ve had experience with and what your personal preferences are. As for me, I love my Ford Mustang, I’m a die-hard PC guy, and if I was in the market right now for an ATV I’d build myself a Yamaha Banshee to tear up the dunes with. I don’t see myself needing a utility ATV but I do love Can-Am machines or at least the few that I’ve test-driven so far.

Luckily for us in all of these scenarios, there are two big players fighting to be first because then we all win as they try to make these toys the best they can be.

What Brand of ATV is the Most Reliable?

This question could be looked at similarly to the last one where you want to know which is more reliable: key player number one or key player number two. But when you’re dealing with big players that both want to be on top they’re going to both have extremely reliable machines.

When it comes to reliability, what you want to stay away from is the people in the back of the pack. The knock-off off-brand quads that you may have never even heard of until you find a smoking deal on craigslist and wonder if you should take a chance.

You may save hundreds or even thousands of dollars but then have to become a part-time mechanic just to keep your ATV running. Nobody wants to have to spray starting fluid down into the carb every single time they want to go for a ride. If you want reliability, stick with the big names in the industry like Yamaha, Honda, Polaris, and Can-Am.

What ATV is Right for Me?

For me personally, I would have to have a Sport ATV versus a Utility ATV. I really enjoy going to the sand dunes and that is a terrain that requires some serious power, traction, and suspension. I would love to find a deal on an older Banshee and fix it up to be crazy fast.

Going that direction I would miss out on some of the perks of a Utility ATV like being able to haul materials on the racks and/or towing small ATV trailers full of materials. Utility ATVs can also offer lower selectable gears and traction control options.

So if jobsite work, farming, or hunting is in your near future then I would get a Utility ATV. If you want to hit the track or the dunes then get a sport ATV. And if you’re into trail riding then you could really go either way.

What is a Banshee ATV?

The Banshee (Banshee 350 or YFZ350) was an ATV manufactured by Yahama and was in production from 1987 – 2006 here in the United States. In the late eighties, Yahama took their highly successful 2 stroke motorcycle engine that was already a fan favorite and created a four-wheeler that became iconic in the sand dune territory

Banshee’s popularity in the ATV world was similar to the Chevy 350’s popularity among car guys and for similar reasons. They were both performed very well, sold a ton, and therefore had a huge amount of aftermarket parts available to them.

What is a Honda ATV?

When I think of Honda ATVs I think of my first 4-wheeler, a mid ’90s Honda FourTrax 90. I thought I was so cool with my Fox sicker up front just under the headlight on my red and black quad.

But after having written the above section about the Banshee I can’t help but think of the late nineties and the Honda 400EX. The 400EX was Honda’s contender to the Yamaha Banshee but with one large difference, it was a 4 stroke motor as opposed to Yamaha’s 2-stroke. It also was equipped with a cast aluminum swingarm which was an industry first.

What is a Gator ATV?

Gator ATV is actually referring to a side-by-side or UTV made by John Deere and is in a totally different category of off-road vehicles, not ATVs. John Deere has an extremely large lineup of task-specific utility vehicles that range from mowers to harvesting equipment and skid steers to tractors.

So smashing the words gator and ATV together is a misnomer as they don’t actually offer a four-wheeler lineup. To learn more about the John Deere Gator click this link for more of our related articles.

What is a Grizzly ATV?

The Grizzly ATV is a utility quad made by Yamaha. Similar to the Polaris Sportsman it hosts utility-specific features like four-wheel drive with differential lock and utility purposed rack setups.

When the Yamaha Grizzly came out in the late ’90s it broke through the upper limits of engine sizes at that time and became the big boy with it’s 595cc engine.

For an amazing trip through time of all of Yamaha’s great machines, I highly recommend you check out this page https://www.yamahapart.com/yamahaatvhistory. It even features my very first ride, the 1984 Tri-Zinger.


Related Questions (ie. the weird stuff)

What is an ATV Car?

When I see ATV and Car smashed together like this my first thought is that someone is trying to describe a larger 4×4 vehicle but doesn’t know all of the most commonly used terms for off-road vehicles. It turns out, it’s almost always referring to those 12-volt power wheels small plastic vehicles designed for toddler-aged kids. ‘ATV Car’ is essentially marketing jargon for overseas kids’ toys.

What is an ATV Scooter?

This is another misnomer as companies using this language are suggesting that brands like TaoTao and Trailmaster are ATV scooters when they are just really a small moped. They are tiny scooters for putting around town at 30mph with and definitely cannot handle All of the Terrain out there. In my opinion, these are not ATVs.

It would be cool if an ATV Scooter was more like the one in this video:

https://youtu.be/nXSYITDUOTc

What is a KYMCO ATV?

KYMCO is a Taiwanese-based motorsports company that has their own line of scooters, motorcycles, and ATVs. KYMCO originally created parts for Honda and then split off to create their own lineup of vehicles. While they do offer off-road vehicles, their main bread and butter are their scooters.

What is a Coolster ATV?

The Coolster ATV is essentially a Chinese knockoff that you can purchase on Amazon.

What is a Razor ATV?

This question can lead to some muddy territory as the person asking could either be talking about a side-by-side created by the company Polaris or a high-end toy at Walmart designed for toddler-aged children.

Polaris brought the side-by-side or UTV vehicle category to where it is today by introducing the RZR back in 2007. People commonly refer to the RZR as a ‘razor’ and that can create all sorts of confusion as there is a company called Razor that is famous for the foldable two-wheeled scooter.

In addition to their famous kick scooter, razor also offers products like the hoverboard, the RipStik, and the Dirt Quad which is essentially an electric ATV for young riders. It would be found near the other power wheels at Walmart but it is definitely a step up from those plastic toys as it features knobby tires, disc brakes, and actual suspension.